GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP - The defense of the Egg Harbor Township High School football team only had 11 players on the field Friday night.
To Absegami, it probably seemed like twice that number.
The Eagles beat Absegami 30-0 in a Cape-Atlantic League American Conference game with a display of gang-tackling rarely executed by a high school team. Egg Harbor (4-0) is No. 6 in The Press' Elite 11, and its defense has not allowed a touchdown this season.
Absegami ball carriers barely took a step without getting hit by one EHT defender and then another and another until the Braves' brown jerseys were completely obliterated by white-shirted Eagles.
"It's an attitude," EHT defensive back and running back Tejay Johnson said. "Like Rex Ryan (coach of the New York Jets) says, we won't take a backseat to anybody. We will not be scared. We will come on the field every time, and we will give you the best game that we have."
The defensive standouts were numerous for the Eagles.
Johnson, a Division I college prospect, picked off two passes. Linebacker Dominic Moody had two sacks and a tackle for a loss. Darryl Platt recovered a fumble and had a sack. Linebackers Zach Agostino and Shane Delaney had sacks. Kevin Marquez, Mark Capetola and Khalil Stockley tackled ball carriers behind the line of scrimmages for losses.
After each big hit, the Eagles' defense howled.
"We're just a pack of wolves," Moody said. "Everybody screams out the wolf call. Our defense is based on speed and tackling and we do what we have to do."
EHT put nine defenders near the line of scrimmage to stop Absegami running backs Ben Martin and David Hood. The duo that had combined to run for more than 600 yards in Absegami's first three games gained just 56 yards Friday.
"If they were going to beat us, they were going to have to beat us with the pass," Moody said.
Friday's game was viewed as a measuring stick for both teams. Egg Harbor Township had yet to beat an opponent with a winning record. Absegami (2-2) had won two straight after a season-opening 41-12 loss to Hammonton.
The Eagles took the notion that Friday's game was a test for them as motivation.
"We felt very disrespected," Johnson said. "Those teams had winning records and then we beat them. That's why they have losing records. That's not our fault. We're going to play smash-mouth football. We're not worried what anybody else is saying."
EHT took control in the second quarter as Johnson showed what a talented all-around player he is. He is one of the state's top sprinters in track and field, but his football skills are about more than speed. Johnson had just 22 rushing yards and 40 receiving yards, but those numbers don't begin to tell the effect he had on the game.
Johnson set up EHT's first touchdown with a 28-yard punt return. One play later, quarterback Scott Miller scored on a 14-yard run to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead with 9 minutes, 47 seconds left in the second quarter.
Miller (7-of-12 for 145 passing yards and two touchdowns) and Johnson set up EHT's second touchdown with a 40-yard completion. Miller's pass hit Johnson in stride as he ran down the center of the field. Miller threw an 18-yard pass to Kevin Marquez to give the Eagles a 14-0 lead 6:44 to play.
Miller, who played wide receiver last season, sparked EHT's offense. He scored its final touchdown of the first half on 4-yard run with 1:36 left. If the Braves had any hopes of a second-half comeback, EHT's Stephan Thomas quickly ended them. He fielded the opening kickoff of the third quarter, burst up the middle, cut to the outside and ran 75 yards for a touchdown.
Egg Harbor Township's team speed is extraordinary, but that's not what impressed Absegami coach Dennis Scuderi Jr. the most about the Eagles.
"I think they really enjoy playing with each other," he said. "Chemistry to me, especially in high school sports, means so much. They really seem like they're playing for each other. They believe in what they're doing. They're flying. They believe they're good, and they are."
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Egg Harbor Township 0 18 6 6 - 30
Absegami 0 0 0 0 - 0
EHT - Miller 14 run (kick missed)
EHT - Marquez 18 pass from Miller (run failed)
EHT - Agostino 4 run (kick blocked)
EHT - S. Thomas 75 kickoff return (kick missed)
EHT - S. Thomas 38 pass from Miller (kick blocked)
TEAM STATS EHT AB
First Downs 10 6
Rushing 122 25
Passing 145 98
Turnovers 1 4
Rushing - Thomas 5-12, Johnson 6-22, Miller 8-49, Agostino 9-24 EHT; Hood 11-50, Martin 17-6 AB.
Passing - Miller 7-12-1-145 EHT.; Hall 9-27-2-98
Receiving - Thomas 1-38, Johnson 1-40, Marquez 3-41, Capetola 1-10, Magosin 1-16 EHT.; Mills 1-25
Records: Egg Harbor Township 4-0; Absegami 2-2